A team of Victoria University (VU) engineers and scientists with the collective title ‘Skunk Control’ are proving that science and art can combine into award-winning creations.

Based at Footscray Park campus Skunk Control take inspiration from:

  • technology
  • design
  • art
  • myths
  • science
  • engineering.

Skunk Control create exquisitely detailed, highly original and immersive installations that leave audiences with a sense of wonderment.

Skunk Control's exhibit, Luminous Intervention, at Fed Square in Melbourne.

About Skunk Control

Skunk Control aims to communicate art through science and science through art via installations prompting investigation and engaging feelings of excitement that define the process of discovery.

Founder Nick Athanasiou, from VU’s Learning, Innovation and Quality, says that while many think science and art are polar opposites, both ask the big questions.

“A scientist’s lab is not very different than an artist’s studio for searching, thinking, creating and doing,” he says.



Skunk Control has gained international attention since they formed in 2012.

They have been a popular choice for some of the world’s most innovative festivals and have exhibited their work in New Zealand, Portugal and Australia at:

  • White Night Melbourne
  • Lorne Sculpture Biennale
  • Laneway Festival
  • Adelaide Fringe Festival
  • Gertrude Street Projection Festival
  • Light in Winter Festival.

Altar to the Future

The White Night exhibit, Altar to the Future, is a dazzling, 6 meter high, colourful work. It includes a rotating portal and delicate flowers that appear transparent one moment, but then suddenly in bloom, depending on the millions of ever-changing light fragments.

Created entirely by hand, Altar to the Future took three months to create and includes:

  • over 600 flowers
  • 6,000 individual petals
  • 144 branches
  • over 12,000 LED lights.

Harvest Harbinger, Majestic Insurgence & Persistent Panacea

Skunk Control were commissioned by Highpoint Shopping Centre to create six original – large-scale installations that jolted shoppers out of their everyday reverie.

Luminous Intervention and Prevaricated Frequencies

Their creations – with haunting names such as Luminous Intervention and Prevaricated Frequencies – include a room full of:

  • singing toast that communicates principles of electromagnetism
  • columns of explosive soap bubbles to show combustion reactions and thermochemistry
  • fields of colour-changing flowers to illustrate optical properties, or birefringence.

Secluded Evolution

In 2015 they delighted Melbourne audiences with Secluded Evolution which played with the nature and power of light.

Secluded Evolution looks at light’s influence in the transformation of a species secluded in darkness and hidden out of sight. Light has found a way into this dark world, into its code and its structure,” says Nick Athanasiou.

“Light can be twisted, tempered and tangled. It can navigate our way home yet blind our path there. It can be an observer of things to come and a participant in things to become.”

Pestilent Protrusions

In 2014 the group took out the People’s Choice award at the annual Gertrude Street Projection Festival, one of Melbourne’s most creative outdoor events.

Skunk Control's winning piece, Pestilent Protrusions, was built into a shopfront and featured a psychedelic array of animatronically blooming flowers.

Harvest Harbinger, Skunk Control exhibit at Highpoint Shopping Centre.

Luminous Intervention, Skunk Control exhibit at FedSquare.

Oracle (I and Eye) Skunk Control exhibit.

Community programs

Skunk Control also runs a number of free community outreach programs, such as Professor Science Troupe, designed to demystify science for the general public.

To learn more about who they are, what they do and the impact of their work in the public realm Skunk Control's video explains one of their works.